Everyone Graduates Center


On this website we share both professional development and teacher resources designed to help high school teachers as they seek to engage their students in academic work.


Our PD series on Engaging HS Students in Academic Work includes facilitator guides, editable powerpoint presentations, and associated materials for use with teachers during the professional development sessions. Sessions can be reorganized or used separately as needed. Click on “Resources” for a list of the PD topics.  Resources also include additional PD session materials on mathematical thinking, as well additional PD materials focused specifically for teachers of English, Science, and History/Government.


This page houses resources for high school teachers looking for ways to engage their students in academic work. Under each section you will find links to helpful short articles and useful tools, such as lessons and lesson planning ideas. Some tools are specific to the four major content areas (Math, Science, English, and Social Studies).


Increasing Student Engagement

The first step in leading students to learn the academic content for which both students and teachers are held accountable is to ENGAGE them in the learning process. This is a real challenge, particularly for adolescents who have not experienced academic success in the past. Many students come to us already disengaged from school. They may have had life experiences that have interfered with attendance or academic effort.  They may not have experienced instruction that met their needs in prior schools. But it is possible to teach in ways that get students excited about learning and eager to work hard! That was the goal of the project in which these materials were produced and tested.

A Word From

Ted McCain

Why are students not engaged by the tasks we give them in school?  Why do we have to threaten, cajole, and plead to inspire them to do the work we give them every day?  Is it possible the way we present schoolwork to students is the cause of their resistance? …

Think about the way tasks and problems are presented daily in our personal and professional lives.  Does someone outline all the parameters and specifications for us?…

I have observed that something wonderful happens when you give young people a real-world problem to solve.  It’s like dumping out the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle on the table; the unfinished nature of the puzzle appeals to the mind to figure out a solution.  Problems engage the mind, teasing and tempting the brain to find a solution.  Giving students a problem to solve presents them with an unfinished picture that begs to be completed and draws them into the task.

– Ted  McCain
Teaching for Tomorrow: Teaching Content and Problem Solving Skills